Review: The Order 1886 (PS4)

Action
6

Fair

When you’re a development studio that comes up with an alternate history, based in one of the most iconic cities in the world, you best make darn sure that you have some great set pieces in place to make the story believable. The Order 1886 comes through in flying colours with its cinematic presentation, pity that it forgot about the ‘exciting gaming’ bit.

the order-1

All the pretties!

Ready at Dawn must’ve been working around the clock to make this game look the part. The visuals are just about unequalled at this stage. If you’re a graphics whore in any sense of the word you best stop reading right now and just buy it if that’s what your eyes crave. The detail on each and every item in the game is phenomenal. Look at anything – a painting, a carpet, a plant, a chair or anything you can think of and you’ll see a genuine work of art. The unbelievable lighting effects will never fail to amaze. There were times that I waited for about five seconds before I noticed that the cinematic scene was over and had transitioned to the in-game action. The reason it just works so well is because of the extremely dull colour palette that 1886 London is based on. It portrays a sense of realism.

As with most games (or movies), that want to ‘tell a story’, the narrative captures a scene halfway into the game that forms the Prologue. The hero, Sir Galahad, is experiencing moments of excruciating torture and you’re there to witness it all. Why he’s being tortured is yet unknown to you, but before long the Prologue comes to an end and you go back in time to find out how he got to that point. Sir Galahad is part of The Order of the Royal Knights with Sir Perceval, his mentor, and compatriots Lady Igraine, Marquis de Lafayette and Sir Lucan by his side. Together they fight off the rebel uprising.

the-order-4

The weapons ain’t that bad

Before long you’re sent into battle and, as always, this is when the tutorial kicks in. Earlier, in the torture scene, you’ll quickly learn that the developers love the Quick Time Event (QTE) concept. They also seem to love Gears of War as The Order 1886 is basically a third-person cover-based shooter, but nowhere near as exciting or riddled with great concepts as Gears of War. Pressing the Circle button will see you diving into cover, with the X button letting you jump over walls or other small obstacles. It takes some time getting into this mechanic as you’re generally accustomed to using one button to achieve both actions. Other than that the basic cover mechanics, such as diving to and from cover to your left or right, to avoid grenades, is the order of the day. If things get out of hand you can make use of the ‘blacksight’ move by pressing the L1 button. You basically head into a bullet-time mode whereby you quickly end the lives of many in a short space of time.

You will have access to grenades, a handgun and machine gun, sniper, shotgun and various other weapons. To select either weapon you press the corresponding direction on the D-Pad, though only three directions work. Good news is that there are indeed some cool weapons, considering this is 1886. First in line is the TS-23 resonant, Circuit Arc Induction Lance. This gun is kick ass and will shoot bolts of electricity that you can build up for a more powerful effect – Instant popping of heads. Then there’s the M86/FL Thermite Rifle: A LMG that can shoot out squirts of magnesium that’s highly flammable… and that’s when you shoot out the mounted magazine to light up the fireworks. There are some decent other weapons, but those two are definitely the standout out the lot. It’s mostly used to fight off the rebels and other threats, but when it comes to the Half Breeds it’ll take a bit more tact.

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On-rail shooter

Half Breeds are half-animal, half-human creatures. They basically resemble werewolves… and can speak English. Who knew? They generally hunt in packs of three, but you’ll sadly rarely get to see them. They only appear at certain points in the game and when you do face off against them there’s no sense of fear. It’s just another enemy that’s capped by one of your bullets (or a standoff by pressing the L2 or R2 triggers to stab it) and should you have trouble shooting them you can always dodge their attacks by pressing X. Ready at Dawn really had trouble bringing some sense of atmosphere to the game outside of the cinematic sequences. At times it feels broken up into categories. This is a cover-based section, then it’s time for you to search for ‘stuff’ (when that happens you can’t even use your gun or reload it) and now it’s a stealth section. No, you may not wander off the predetermined path. The Order 1886’s  biggest flaw is that it’s just exceptionally boring.

I quite honestly could not care for the characters, other than Nicola Tesla, who’s basically The Order 1886 version of Q (The James Bond kind). He offers you new gadgets and weaponry, but the rest are generally dull and annoying. There are moments of lock-picking, climbing rooftops, more QTE’s, pressing Triangle to action ‘whatever’ and once, just once, you’ll use the magic that’s the touch pad on the Dualshock 4. You’ll send one morse code message, then it’s trashed in the can. Like a quick cameo role. There are also no boss battles and the one time you do fight a boss (if you can call it that) it’s a QTE-fest.

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No collectibles for you!

This brings me to the million Dollar question. How long is The Order 1886 really? Well, I finished it in 7 hours and I took the time to look at all weapons and items I could find (you literally rotate the right analogue stick to look at the items in Galahad’s hand from different angles). Outside of some audio and newspaper clips, that expand on the story, there’s absolutely nothing to collect. The replay value is exactly ZERO. If it was 7 hours with extras thereafter I’d forgive it, but at the cost of games these days it’s just not on.

It was a brave and risky move from Ready at Dawn. There are a couple of moments with a slight twist in the story that stand out and the action, which there’s not enough of, can be fun, but overall it’s just far too generic and cemented with concepts that worked 10 years ago. If anything The Order 1886 is a great testament to the saying – Great graphics does not make a great game.

raru-buy-now

Good

  • A graphical showcase | One or two really awesome weapons

Bad

  • Absolutely no replay value | Boring and generic | Dull characters

Summary

Should you order this or not?
6

Fair

Gameplay - 5
Visuals - 10
Audio - 5
Gratification - 5
Value for money - 5
Married to a gamer wife who kicks my ass at most shooters. If it's got analogue thingies, with buttons that's connected to a big box I'll play it no matter the format.
  • Jayson Benade

    Ouch, but had a feeling about this one. Moving this to my “wait for sale/PS+” bin.

  • JASON ROMAN

    Eina…

  • Jarred

    Sad to see it’s a disappointment, and yet I still find myself wanting to play it eventually. I have a feeling it will be something I will enjoy regardless.

    • Small Charlie

      You have it on Pre-order Jarred?

      • Jarred

        Nah, sadly I cannot afford games if I am completely honest. I have some cash for one game this year and that will go to Uncharted 4 most likely.
        I will either borrow this or wait for it on sale.
        You have plans to play it?

        • Small Charlie

          Down the line, maybe, but I sure as hell aren’t going to pay more than R300 for it.

          The thing is, I’m curious, maybe, if they’re allowed to make a sequel, then that will be great. With the setting they have, there is a lot of potential.

        • Small Charlie

          And yeah, games are very expensive, so I troll the second hand market and wait for specials. Very few games will get my early buying love.

  • Small Charlie

    So, basically, Ready at Dawn missed a trick somewhere.

    • Yeah, everything just feels very average. They could have injected so much more into the game.

  • Mr. Sexycalifragilistic

    RaD, y u do dis? Y u break heart?

    http://replygif.net/i/1045.gif

  • Wesley

    This is actually kinda sad 🙁

  • Dave

    “If anything The Order 1886 is a great testament to the saying – Great graphics does not make a great game.”
    Amen to that. Which is why it pisses me off so much when people spend so much time worrying about the graphical fidelity of games that are yet to be released without even playing the stupid things to see if they are worth playing. All those graphical comparisons and controversies about watch_dogs and Unity’s graphics before anyone had played one second. As it turns out both of those offered a lot more game time and variety than this stinker.

    • I can’t but help to notice the Wii U undertones there, and I totally agree.

      • Dave

        Oh definitely. To my mind, graphics are icing and gameplay is the cake. Icing is delicious but you can’t just eat it by itself for too long without feeling sick (unless you’re five years old). But you can eat a cake without icing and still enjoy it. Combine the two together and it can be amazing of course, but if you’re only going to have one, the cake will at least leave you feeling like you’ve actually eaten something.

        • And sadly in this case ‘the cake was a lie’.

          • Dave

            Haha… well played…

        • AchtungBaby_

          Now I want cake darnit. You made it sound do damn good :'(

    • Jarred

      You just defined David *runs*

      • Dave

        Yeah he likes his pretties, but I think even he would find little to like about this one?

        • Jarred

          I don’t know, that guy is attracted to pretty graphics like nothing I have ever seen before.

  • Great review Dawid. You get the feeling something needs to change in the game development market. Focus on gameplay, people. Everything else is redundant.

    Has there really been a stand out game for the PS4 or Xbox One thus far where you could say you just have to buy a new console to play it?

    • Thanks Keenest. You know, I was thinking EXACTLY that while writing the review. I nearly feel sorry for Sony as their exclusives, to date, have generally backfired, though they had great intentions and Microsoft, while Forza Horizon/Sunset Overdrive are good titles – it’s not going to sell a system.

      The consoles have been around for a year and several months now. I expect things to pick up later this year. Or at least – I hope it does. *looks at PC gamers smiling away*

      • I’m sure it will turn around as well especially with Uncharted 4. But hopefully there will be some other fantastic first party releases down the line as well.

      • Mr. Sexycalifragilistic

        Sony’s exclusives haven’t necessarily backfired.

        Flower, Journey, God of War series, Heavy Rain, inFamous series, Killzone series, Ratchet & Clank, Resistance series, Uncharted series, The Last of Us — sure there have been misfires, but when they have a hit, it hits ridiculously hard.

        As for concentrating more on gameplay, that’s just a… bad idea. That’ll just breed games like Hatred where it’s skeet, skeet, skeet, (to the windoooooows! To the waaaaaaalls!) credits. Story needs to go hand-in-hand with gameplay to craft the perfect package, IMHO.

        • You know I was referring specifically to the PS4 right? Outside of Infamous Second Son everything else exclusive so far either flopped or is a available on PS3. What Keenest and I were dicussing is that the current gen consoles still don’t have the killer game that says, “Buy a PS4 or XBO now!”. As we speak you can still play most the good stuff on PS3/360 or, quite frankly – PC.

          I do think Bloodborne will finally be. BIG game for the PS4. And The Witcher 3 will finally be the game that makes current gen consoles worth upgrading, unless of course you’re in the PC camp. Towards the end of 2015 I think it’ll all change.

          • Mr. Sexycalifragilistic

            Ooooooooooh, I thought you were referring to Sony in general — no, I agree fully; there are no exclusives on either side that are game changers.

            But that’s always the case with the first few years of a new console’s life, so in 2/3 years, we’re in for a treat. Though, The Witcher 3, Arkham Knight and Uncharted 4 are going to fast-track it.

    • Jarred

      I suppose it depends on the person. If you have never played TLOU then that’s a great reason to get a PS4, perhaps GTA too.
      In terms of exclusives it’s a little more tricky but I would have happily bought my PS4 just for infamous. Loved that game.
      Lots of multiplats that make it worth it, especially on the sport side of things

  • Dian Fourie

    Not to do it.. But I told you so

  • baasg3n3

    I’ve got R800 credit on my PS4 profile (costed me R564 thanks to Kalahari selling the R200 voucher for R191 and also using 2x R100 vouchers on sub accounts rofl) Now seeing as all the exclusives are rubbish so far except for Infamous, I’ll be holding on to this credit until I see a game that is worth it. Kind of hoping that Bloodborne does not disappoint like the rest, else I would have to use the credit for FF Type 0 (unless it’s rubbish too then I’m screwed)

    • Small Charlie

      Anybody how might have bothered to read more than one of my comments will know that I’m super excited for Bloodborne. I’m a huge Souls series fan, and I have all the faith in From Software’s ability to make something great.

      That said, I am a little nervous. We haven’t seen a truly phenomenal game being released this new generation, so I’m hoping it will be the start of greatness to come, which we are still awaiting for Sony.

      • baasg3n3

        I also have this gut feeling that Bloodborne is going to be awesome, just looking at the videos was fun never mind playing it!

        • Small Charlie

          The only thing I think might happen is that everybody is starved for something truly great, and people might buy it not realising what it is. Those people might say it is bad because they struggle to play it, since at its core, Bloodborne will be a Souls game.

          Then again, I don’t think it will make such a difference, the series has a lot of followers and fans, so if it’s good and it lives up to expectation. It will do just fine.

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